Known as Britain's Ace Drummin' Man here's what the critics say about John Petters:
The Mississippi Rag (USA)
" Englands finest Traditional Jazz Drummer."
"John Petters is a solid and showy drummer..... and a humourous, fluent
compere of the proceedings, as well as a useful singer"
The Financial Times
"Petters is an unashamed disciple of the Jazz of Benny Goodman & Gene
Krupa ......he sets the mood for this neat swinging group."
Art Hodes - Legendary Jazz & Blues Pianist
" Carrying the torch we lit"
Falmouth & Penryn Leader (reviewing the Legends of American Dixieland show)
"It's doubtful whether the two veterans could have found a better group to work with than the John Petters Group"
With nearly 40 C D albums to his credit, John Petters is one of the busiest musicians on the traditional jazz scene. Here are the booklet notes for the CD issue of this great album:
Personnel: John Petters Drums & Vocal**, Sean Moyses, Banjo & Vocal*, Allen Beechey, Cornet, Karl Hird, Clarinet & Tenor Saxophone, Clive Payne, Sousaphone.
Recorded at Long Sutton Baptist Church, Long Sutton, Lincs.
Sound Engineer: Andrew Petters – Ripplebeat.
Artwork: Stefan Brazzo
CD Production: John Garrad, Akcent Media, St Neots.
The 2013 re-make of “The Great Gatsby”, which starred Leonardo DiCaprio, whilst being an entertaining movie, failed totally to capture the real music of the Roarin’ 20s, opting instead to go for a mish-mash of current un-musical noise throughout most of the soundtrack. This CD attempts to redress this awful situation.
As a result of the movie, there has been a huge upsurge of interest in the ‘Gatsby’ period, particularly among the younger set, with an emphasis on dressing up in flapper costumes and the popular resurgence of real dancing. The most popular dance being the Charleston, danced with gay abandon to James P Johnson’s 1923 composition of the same name.
The 1920s was the jazz era. This was surely the most creative period of 20th century music. The original ‘Jass’ which exploded out of New Orleans nearly a century ago, when the white, Original Dixieland Jass Band recorded “Livery Stable Blues”, revolutionised the popular music of the day.
Young Louis Armstrong entered the primitively equipped Gennett recording studio with King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band in 1923 and became the most innovative and creative musician of the decade. Armstrong’s influence both as a cornetist and vocalist meant that music would never sound the same again. He took liberties with phrasing and timing. He could swing.
However it was mostly the white bands which enjoyed commercial success. Many of the legends of the Swing Era, such as Gene Krupa, Benny Goodman and Glenn Miller had their musical roots set firmly in the 20s.
Al Jolson was mis-labelled “The Jazz Singer” in the first talking picture. Paul Whiteman’s huge and lumbering orchestra was peppered with great jazz soloists – most notably, the tragic cornetist, Bix Beiderbecke - but was in no way a jazz band. Real jazz remained popular but seemed to get buried under the commercial interests of the day.
Many of the great songs from that golden decade remain in the American songbook as evergreen classics.
This album mixes some of the more commercial tunes with a few of the jazz pot boilers – all played with the dancer in mind.
In order to create the Gatsby sound, the musicians on this session needed to understand the era and the music. The choice of a sousaphone as opposed to a double bass adds to the authenticity
John Petters – “England’s finest traditional jazz drummer” – The Mississippi Rag, USA, has direct links back to the legendary Wild Bill Davison and Art Hodes, who worked in Al Capone’s gangster run Speakeasies in Chicago. John toured and recorded with these two giants in the ‘80s. Hodes said of Petters that he was, “carrying the torch we lit”.
Sean Moyses is one of the most talented banjo players to emerge in recent years. He has made a life-long study of the instrument and its early innovators. Sean recently returned to the UK after spending many years in Germany with the celebrated Rod Mason Hot Five. He has also been featured with the Pasadena Roof Orchestra and Bob Kerr’s Whoopee Band.
Allen Beechey fell in love with the sound of Wild Bill Davison’s cornet. This led to the emergence of a young Dixieland band, The Bright Stars of Jazz, which has enjoyed great success in the last decade. Allen has also been featured with the Ken Colyer Trust Band and New Orleans drummer, Barry Martyn’s Young Bloods.
Karl Hird grew up with the sound of jazz ringing in his ears. His parents, Pam and Lew, led an internationally famous band, based in Australia, but which travelled constantly all over the globe. Young Karl got to play with some of the surviving New Orleans legends – that Crescent City influence is clearly heard in his wonderful performances on this album.
Clive Payne is a multi-instrumentalist. A master of both brass and reeds, he is highly regarded on the jazz circuit. Clive is soaked in the music of the era – he still prefers to listen to his vintage 78s on a real gramophone, rather than modern CD reissues. Clive’s playing on this session fits the bill perfectly.
So, give this disc a spin and I guarantee you will be taken back to a time, nearly 90 years ago, when music was played by musicians and not computers, dancers danced instead of merely gyrating around at a disco, songs had a real melody you could whistle and lyrics were intelligent and witty. Enjoy!